SDP Accelerator: Inclusion and adoption in Brazil

30th November 2023

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SAI Platform’s Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) aims to establish itself as the industry’s go-to solution for dairy sustainability reporting. Already extensively used across the United States, Europe and Oceania, the SDP has proven its effectiveness in driving sustainable practices. To further advance the vision of global dairy sustainability, the inclusion and adoption of the SDP in other geographies such as Latin America (LATAM) is a logical next step.

Brazil currently stands as the fifth largest dairy producer globally and therefore an important focal point for SDP implementation within the LATAM region. Recently, SAI Platform’s Dairy Director, Patricia García Diaz travelled to Brazil to better understand the local context and identify local stakeholders.

Brazil’s leading dairy companies come together on sustainability

The successful implementation of the Sustainable Dairy Partnership (SDP) in Brazil depends on several key factors. These include a strong understanding of the market landscape, the dynamics, key players, challenges, and opportunities; identifying key partners who can lead and drive the adoption of the SDP programme and awareness as well as recognition of existing programmes and initiatives whether at national level or company level.

Bringing together SAI Platform members and some of Brazil’s other leading dairy companies was an important first step and key meetings were held with Lactalis, Unium, Alvoar, CCGL, Laticinhos Porto Alegre, Kerry, Barry Callebaut, Interfood, Nestlé and Danone.

Discussions recognised the need for local alignment in sustainability reporting and with a view that the SDP programme could offer a potential national approach. Key sector priorities that were identified included: rural economies; animal welfare; soil management and GHG emissions. Other discussions with Vivalacteos, a local dairy association, explored potential opportunities to include the topic of sustainability within their activities to support Brazil to meet global dairy sustainability requirements.

The SDP brings an opportunity to the Brazilian dairy sector to align on a sustainability approach at a national and international level” 

Rene Machado, Consultant and Dairy Expert.

Dairy sustainability in the field

There are already multiple programmes and efforts in place in dairy farms and operations in Brazil to ensure soil quality, high yield, productivity and reduction in carbon emissions. Farm operations in the state of Parana, south of Sao Paulo and in parallel, in the State of Minas du Gerais, clearly demonstrated that across large scale operations and smaller farms, dairy sustainability is a significant factor.

Visits to farm operations included Unium’s Castrolanda, one of three cooperatives (the other operations namely Frisia and Capal) involving a total of 850 dairy farmers and 5200 farmers responsible for the production of grains in Parana. Established by Dutch migrants in 1951, Castrolanda focuses on high scale production and good agricultural practices. On average each farm here has 150 lactation animals, producing an average of 4200 litres a day. Unium offers its member farmers technical assistance through their own programme and in collaborates with Arapoti Batavo Castolanda (ABC) an agricultural research institute to further assist farmers.

The SDP is a means to demonstrate all the work and developments that Unium has achieved in relation to dairy sustainability in recent years” 

REnio Andrade, Milk Sourcing Manager, Unium.

From a different lens, a visit to Alvoar in the State of Minas du Gerais offered a better understanding of smaller farms which are more representative of Brazilian dairy production. Alvoar processes 3 million litres/day and has over 4,500 suppliers: +3,000 direct and +1,600 indirect. Their farmers are supported by Alvoar’s own farmer support programme and their own local programme Educampo, which monitors farm economics and guides the farmer to make their decisions to ensure high productivity and scale up.

What’s next for Brazil’s SDP acceleration?

Currently, the SDP is bringing together stakeholders from government, industry and local partners that recognise the benefits and credibility of the SDP. This approach welcomes dairy companies in Brazil to report through the SDP and will establish baselines and roadmaps for emission reduction for those companies. It will also identify a local tool to measure the carbon footprints within the Brazilian context and systems.

The SDP aims to become vital industry solution in Brazil for dairy sustainability enabling the Brazilian dairy sector to report progress and improvements to the global dairy sustainability movement. This initiative marks a significant step forward in advancing sustainability within Brazil’s dairy industry.

SAI Platform thanks Rene Machado and Clea Real, local consultants at MB Argro for their support and guidance throughout this visit to Brazil.